Leiden blogs about scientific breakthroughs
89 top researchers have written blogs on hot topics in modern-day science. On the basis of these blogs, among others from Leiden, De Groene Amsterdammer compiled a list of 10 expected breakthroughs in natural science. Read the Leiden scientific blogs: From cultivated stem cells to life in space.
De Groene Amsterdammer aims for nothing less than the best. The magazine asked all Spinoza Prize winners and KNAW members from the natural science section to participate. Their wish list also included all young, talented scientists from the Young Academy of the KNAW. The recent winners of Vidi and Vici awards for promising research proposals were also invited to participate. These top researchers were asked the following three questions:
1. What is the most important scientific development in your field?
2. What scientific breakthrough are you hoping for?
3. What is the value of your field for society?
Molecular improvement of crops
Paul Hooykaas, Professor of Molecular Genetics Can we in future provide the growing world population with sufficient food? The prospects are not promising.
Cultivated stem cells
Christine Mummery, Professor of Developmental Biology
Harald Mikkers, Senior Researcher in Molecular Cell Biology
Christian Freund, Postdoctoral Researcher on Pluripotent Stem Cells and Early Development
Rob Hoeben, Professor of Gene Transfer
Stem cells offer hope for treating illnesses for which there are at present no adequate therapies.
Stem cell transplantation
Els Goulmy, Professor Emeritus of Transplantation Biology
The study of complex immune reactions can further improve the results of stem cell transplantation in leukaemia patients.
Regenerative cardiac muscle cells
Marie-José Goumans, Professor of Molecular Cardiovascular Cell Biology
A brilliant experiment in Sweden showed that, contrary to what was previously assumed, cardiac muscle cells regenerate throughout the whole lifespan.
Water in space
Ewine van Dishoeck, Professor of Molecular Astrophysics
Planets with liquid water can be found in many more places in the universe. Water was even detected in galaxies in the early universe.
Unravelling the chemistry of the heavens
Harold Linnartz, Professor of Laboratory Astrophysics
The odds of life existing elsewhere are real, because the building blocks of life can be found everywhere in the universe.
Calculation and understanding
Simon Portegies Zwart, Professor of Computational Astrophysics
We can calculate almost a trillion times faster than 70 years ago, and yet all this diligent calculation will never help us gain a deeper understanding of gravity.
Sense Jan van der Molen, University Lecturer in Experimental Physics
Maybe we should start thinking in a completely different way. Literally. Our brains are molecular computers, and major ones at that.
In the living cell
We want to understand the three-dimensional folding of the genome in living cells by mapping the binding sites of all the proteins involved along the linear genome.
Bas Edixhoven, Professor of Mathematics
Mathematics is an art-form, especially for its practitioners. They enjoy the depth, surprises, simplicity and elegance of axioms, theorems and proofs.
Computer modelling in biology
Roeland Merks, Head of the Biomodeling & Biosystems Analysis Team
Detailed knowledge of genetics is wonderful, but we must also know how genes and proteins mesh with one another like cog-wheels, and how cells and tissues develop as a result.
Peter Grünwald, Professor of Statistics and Self-learning Computer Systems
In nearly all ‘fun’ research which makes it to the newspapers, you can find major misuses of statistics/major statistical errors.
Next Generation Sequencing Aartsma-Rus, University Senior Lecturer in Human Genetics
Relatively cheap and relatively fast mapping of large quantities of genetic and biological information regarding an organism or person.
All 89 bloggers
From bacteria to brain, we are tinkering with nature. How much better can we make the world, and what can we manipulate? The first of the 10 expected breakthroughs is in the field of medicine, which is taking a new course: replacing instead of attempting to heal. On the basis of input from among others Leiden biologists Christine Mummery, Rob Hoeben, Harald Mikkers and Christian Freund.
Cultivation of organs
(5 June 2012/ MvG)